Is there hope in the Middle East?

Anonymous asked this question on 7/28/2000:

Hi experts!

How do you think about peace in Middle East?
Do you believe that we can talk about a "cold peace process" between Arabs and Israelis?
And also, what do you think it could happen in the future.?

Any help will be appreciate.

stevehaddock gave this response on 7/28/2000:

A speaker in a political science class of mine once said something very profound about this very issue. We were speaking of Poland which, in 1939, had a treaty with France that required France to declare war on any country that waged war on Poland. Of course, in that year, both Germany and the USSR attacked Poland. France immediately declared war and did.... nothing.

The moral of the story? Having big powerful friends is not as important as getting along with your neighbours.

He extended the analogy to Israel. For going on 53 years now, Israel has only found real support with one nation - the United States. Israel has, at one time or another, had abysmal relations with all of its neighbours - Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

Now, Israel states that it is a small, vulnerable state that requires a huge military (Israel leads the world in military spending per capita) against hostile neighbours. Well, unfortunately, most of their neighbours have been attacked by Israel, and they have all lost territory to Israel. Mind you, other nations surrounded by an ethnically different majority seem to be doing quite well - Singapore, Brazil, Lesotho, to name a few.

Israel has survived as long as it has because it has, to date, won every war it has fought. However, this has been an expensive proposition and, as nations like Kuwait have shown, it doesn't take long to be overrun.

Historically, Arabs and Jews have gotten along together. Any animosity between them isn't based on millennia long war, but on events of the last 53 years or so.

In short, Israel either has to find peace with it's neighbours, or face its own destruction. As for Jerusalem, I would just like to point out that over the last 2600 years, seven different powers (at least) have tried to hold onto it (Hebrews, Babylonians, Hebrews again, Romans, Turks, Crusaders, Turks again, Arabs, and now Israel). In the meantime, in the past 700 years, Christians, Jews and Muslim have lived together there in peace and harmony despite all the fighting for it.

When peace seems impossible, I would like to point out that in 1812 a large superpower invaded a smaller colony in a war that lasted for two bloody years. However, since 1814, the United States and Canada have gotten along quite well, thank you.

JesseGordon responded:

... [diatribe on Israel]

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